For the last four weeks, I’ve posted about my time working in radio. And for some reason, I have felt compelled for some damn reason to begin each post with an introduction written in 3rd person. I don’t know why but I can assure you that today, as I present the last of my Radio Daze series of posts, I will not be indulging in that silliness.
But you came to realize that the radio life was a hardscrabble life, moving from town to town, up and down the dial. It was a hard business with few rewards and you would have to pay a price for those rewards, a lack of security, a lack of stability.
Still, you wonder perhaps that maybe, just maybe you could’ve made it work somehow. Maybe the wandering existence of a radio disc jockey would have made you a stronger person, a wiser person.
AND…any time around all that, I would be responsible for producing commercials for the station.
Of course, none of that mattered. I was clearly too young and too raw to do all they were asking. Perhaps someone else my age could've made it with that kind of a job but I wasn't that person.
But wait, there's more! After I left the job interview, I pulled out on the country road that ran by the mobile home radio station. Unfortunately, I was heading the wrong way so I had to turn around. In doing so, I wound up with the back end of my car in a ditch.
So that was a thing that happened. I was stuck, no way I was getting my car without help. A tow truck came out to get extract the car from the ditch. I can't remember how it came to be there; this was before cell phones so I know I didn't call. It's quite possible that the tow truck just happened to be driving by. Well, it was nice of him to help me out, a shining example of southern hospitality.
It cost me $20.00.
Looking at the radio landscape today, I'm glad my career path veered in another direction. I'm at the age now where a station manager would be firing me to replace me with younger, cheaper talent and my path in radio would've taken me back to Reidsville or some other station like it.
It's a different world than when I was young. I know, that's a thing old people say. Don't mock me for it, you young whippersnappers; one day you'll be saying it too. But going back to radio, the homogenization of play lists and on air talent is a depressing trend. As more and more people defer to music streaming services like Pandora, radio responds with even more repetitive song rotations, more ads and more cookie cutter on air talent. And then the powers that be in radio wonder why the steady drain of listeners continues unabated.
Recently I rediscovered college radio, a local campus station called WQFS. Boy, those kids on the air need a lot of work before they get better. But so did I in my earliest days on the air. As for the music, I like quite a bit more than I would've thought. Maybe I'm not so old after all. But like a song or not, chances are I will hear something I haven't heard before and that joy of discovery is not something to be dismissed.
And I think that is that for this series of posts on my association with radio. Thanks for indulging me on this journey.
Another new post is coming up tomorrow. Until then, remember to be good to one another.
I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You